Follow The Prince
twitter icon rss icon

Evening Land Vineyards

Owner(s) Charles Banks, Sashi Moorman, Rajat Parr
Web site www.elvwines.com
 
Link to this site
Evening Land Vineyards

When word got out that Dominque Lafon had started making Pinot Noir in Oregon, it created quite a buzz. He signed on as the consulting winemaker for Evening Land Vineyards (ELV), a wine label started in 2005 by former attorney and producer and director in Hollywood, Mark Tarlov, along with partners Danny Meyer (Union Square Hospitality Group), the Prieur family of Domaine Jacques Prieur, and Dorothy Cann Hamilton, founder of the French Culinary Institute in New York City and CEO of the James Beard Foundation. The name Evening Land Vineyards was inspired by the lure of Homer's ideal garden and is the final chapter of Homer's Odyssey.

Since its founding, the winery has undergone a number of changes. Founder Mark Tarlov left the company in January 2012 and general manager Larry Stone also left the company. The remaining members of the board including chairman, Steven Webster, hired Greg Ralston as president and president and CEO in 2012. The winemaking team, however, remained intact.

In the summer of 2012, Evening Land sold its 40 acres of Sta. Rita Hills acreage holdings to winemaker Sashi Moorman, sommelier Rajat Parr and their business partners. Moorman and Parr introduced their own estate label, Domaine de la Côte in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA in the fall of 2013. In 2014, Moorman, Parr and Charles Banks became minority partners in Evening Land Vineyards and took over operations. Wine maker Ian Burch, who had been an assistant winemaker for the firm in both burgundy and Oregon, replaced founding winemaker Isabelle Meunier. Dominique Lafon, a consultant on the project, continues to play a large role. A new label, Seven Springs Vineyard, has been created for wines from the estate vineyard, and Evening Land will be for wines from sourced grapes.

Evening Land Vineyards owns two vineyards in California, Occidental Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast (the source of Kistler’s Cuvee Elizabeth before it was acquired by ELV; pictured right) and Wind Harps Vineyard on the westernmost fringe of the Sta. Rita Hills developed in 2006. Pinot Noir from these two sites has been crafted by veteran winemaker Sashi Moorman (Stolpman Vineyards) in Lompoc. Lafon declined to make Pinot Noir from California, claiming the wines were too extracted and high in alcohol. Instead, he consulted with winemaker Isabelle Meunier, who formerly worked at Le Clos Jordanne in Niagara, Canada, with former Oregon winemaker Thomas Bacheler, on the Oregon Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. Christophe Vial produced wines in Beaune.

As widely reported in the wine press, Tarlov and his investment group signed a 45-year lease in 2007 of Seven Springs Vineyard, a revered 100-acre Pinot Noir vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills appellation. Tarlov had been attempting to purchase the vineyard outright since 2004 without success. Seven Springs Vineyard was split by a divorce of the original owners of Seven Springs Vineyard in 2001 into Anden Vineyard, owned by Al McDonald, and Seven Springs Vineyard, owned by his former spouse, Joni Weatherspoon. When Joni died in 2003, her children took over ownership. The vineyard has been rechristened and unified as Seven Springs Vineyard under the ELV lease. Seven Springs Vineyard has been the source for Pinot Noir from several esteemed producers including Adelsheim, Bethel Heights, Cristom, Domaine Drouhin, Evasham Wood, Penner-Ash, Rex Hill, and St. Innocent. None of these wineries will continue to receive fruit after the 2008 vintage. St. Innocent will be the most affected as they source about a third of the fruit originating from Seven Springs Vineyard. Considerable investment by ELV is being directed at enlarging and improving the vineyard which has some phylloxera-damaged vines over twenty-five years old. A new trellising system and biodynamic strategies have been instituted.

A total of 120 acres of heritage vineyards are farmed organically, producing 13 Estate wines. There is a mix of old vine own rooted Oregon and California heritage clones, cuttings from established Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards of Burgundy and an experimental block of Pinot Noir grown from seed.

Evening Land Vineyards has wineries in Lompoc, California, Carlton, Oregon and Beaune, France. The full-time winemaker at the winery in Salem, Oregon, Isabelle Meunier, previously worked at Le Clos Jordanne in Niagara, Canada, with former Oregon winemaker, Thomas Bachelder, and is a protege of Dominque Lafon who consults. . The first wine, labeled ELV Celebration, was a Gamay Noir released in 2008. Two 2007 ELV Seven Springs Vineyard Pinot Noirs followed in 2009. By 2011, multiple Oregon and California bottlings followed including three wines from Seven Springs Vineyard in the 2009 vintage: Seven Springs Estate Pinot Noir, Seven Springs Estate "La Source" Pinot Noir, and Seven Springs Estate "La Source" Chardonnay

The wines have a pricing based on a color coded system with a range from blue, silver, gold and white labels, with white being the most expensive at about $120 a bottle and blue the most inexpensive at about $35 a bottle.

The Chardonnays from Oregon have set a benchmark for that state. To sign up for the mailing list or to purchase wines, visit the website at www.elvwines.com. The phone is 707-320-9372. A Wine & Spirits Winery of the Year in 2009. Production is 15,000 cases (US) and 9,500 cases (France), 40% of which is estate grown.

Reviewed Wines

2010 Evening Land Spanish Springs Edna Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 429 cases, $35, released summer 2012. 20% whole clusters. Vineyard is 2 miles from the Pacific Ocean sheltered behind the coastal range. The soils are diverse and well drained. Shorter fermentations and longer pressing with more of the press wine taken to barrel with the free run wine. New oak less than 25%. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with scents of darker berries, plum, oak spice and violets. Middleweight, appealing flavors of blackberries, black currants, and sweet plums, engaged by supple tannins and bright acidity, with a slight oak undertone. Easy to drink with excellent balance and a seductively satiny mouth feel. Very good. Reviewed October 26, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Evening Land Evening Land Estate Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 652 cases, $45, released summer 2012. Vineyards planted with tight spacing using California heritage clones exclusively. Representative of diverse vineyard blocks. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of black berries, black grapes, tea leaf, dried herbs and mushrooms. Exotic and savory with an enjoyable core of fresh dark berries and a soft note of citrus-flavored cranberries on the finish. The wine was significantly better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle showing more expressive fruit and less savory aromas and flavors. Very good. Reviewed October 26, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Evening Land Evening Land Estate Bloom’s Field Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 114 cases, $60, released summer 2012. From a cool vineyard block due to exposure to winds from the Pacific Ocean. The soil is clay loam and rich in iron. Because there were many shot berries, the clusters were de-stemmed. A long cold soak was employed and a slightly extended maceration at the end of fermentation enriched the tannins. New oak less than 10%. · Deep, dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Fairly nondescript nose with a hint of dark berries. Vibrant fruitiness with flavors of blackberries and boysenberries fanning out nicely on the palate and finishing with some strength and persistence. The wine is fresh and lively due to bright acidity but is burdened with considerable rustic tannins at this stage. It is a bit muddled and brooding, especially on the nose, and may benefit from more time in bottle although it tasted the same the following day from a previously opened bottle. Good. Reviewed October 26, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Evening Land Evening Land Estate Memorious Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 122 cases, $60, released summer 2012. Last part of vineyard to be harvested and the vineyard's most vigorous wine. The name comes from the seedling block that resides inside it. 7,000 seedlings planted, taken from Evening Land vineyards in Sonoma. Because these seedlings display the genetic diversity of Pinot Noir, they represent the "memory" of Pinot Noir. The fruit from these seedlings was not included in this wine. A little more new oak but less than 10%. Indigenous yeast fermentations. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. A generous array of purple and black fruit aromas with a complimentary hint of spice and oak, taking on more intensity over time in the glass. Very tasty blackberry core which enters with aplomb and expands in the mouth, filling every nook and cranny. A slight fresh citrus-driven acidity in the background gives the wine lift and a savory note adds interest. This one really grows on you over time. The following day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the evocative fruit had picked up intensity and the aromatics were still fresh and lively. This wine is a real attention-getter. Reviewed October 26, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Evening Land Evening Land Estate Tempest Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 88 cases, $60, released summer 2012. A blend of Swan and Calera clones. From a warm part of the vineyard protected from the wind by a large rock outcropping to the west. · Dark reddish-purple hue in the glass. Terrific nose offering aromas of fresh, ripe black raspberries and blackberries with a hint of forest floor in the background. Moderately rich with lasting flavors of blackberries and black currants with a subtle herbal oak imprint. The fruit is pulled into line with firm, ripe tannins and wellintegrated acidity, and offers a flamboyant display on the finish. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Very good (+). Reviewed October 26, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Evening Land La Source Seven Springs Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 971 cases, $60. 100% de-stemmed, 4-5-day cold soak in open top oak and cement fermenters. Aged 14 months in 25% new French Oak. Unfined and unfiltered. · Light garnet color in the glass. Marked reduction upon opening with aromas of matchstick and wood shed, leading to light flavors of red cherries and berries, oak vanillin and sulfur. The wine was then decanted and re-tasted later in the day and the following day. The reduction largely resolved with much more expressive aromatics and flavors with bright, fresh flavors of ripe dark berries. Good. Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Evening Land Red Queen Seven Springs Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 311 cases, $75. From a specific vineyard block that sits at the highest point of the hill, where the volcanic Basalt rocks come closer to the surface. 30% whole cluster fermentation in an open-top oak fermenter. Aged 14 months in 30% new French oak. Unfined and unfiltered. · Light garnet color in the glass. Fruity nose with an array of dark red cherry and berry aromas. Elegant and silky on the palate, with a delicious core of dark red Pinot fruits complimented by oak, finishing with a hint of spice and savory herbs. Impeccable balance and easy drink ability at this early stage. Very good. Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.75% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.54, 1,528 cases, $40. Own-rooted Pommard with some 114, 115 and 777. Planted in 1984, 1988, and 1993 to 1996. Volcanic basalt soils of the Jory series. 100% de-stemmed, indigenous fermentation, aged 12 months in 25% new French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. Winemaker is Isabelle Meunier and consulting winemaker is Dominique Lafon. · Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Muted aromatically and slightly reduced initially, offering over time aromas of black cherries, smoky oak and humus. Medium-weighted mix of dark red and black berry and black cherry fruits backed by moderate grainy tannins, finishing with a spiced fruit, oak-marked finish. I rechecked the wine from a previously opened and re-corked the next day and two days later, and the wine become much more expressive over time, with brighter fruit aromas and flavors while still retaining a noticeable oak underpinning. Great potential here, but the wine needs more time in bottle. Very good. Reviewed November 2, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Summum Pinot Noir

13.75% alc., $120. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy fruit aromas with oak in the background. Savory and juicy cherry and berry fruit wrapped in supple tannins with a crisp finish. On the delicate side and approachable now, this is quintessential Oregon Pinot Noir that presently only hints at its full potential. Very good. Reviewed March 12, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 Evening Land Vineyards Oregon Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., $25. Second vintage from a new Oregon and California producer. Sourced from Southern Oregon (50%), the Eola-Amity Hills (30%) and Dundee Hills (20%). Natural fermentation, 20% whole cluster. Noted Burgundy vigneron, Dominque Lafon, consults on the Oregon wines. · Dark reddish-purple in color. The shy dark red fruits are overshadowed by heavy oak toast and burnt caramel aromas. Juicy core of red and purple stone fruits and berries with a citrus underpinning. Full-bodied, fruit-driven and simple with supple tannins for easy daily drinking. Oregon fruit in a California style. Decent (+). Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Evening Land Vineyards Oregon Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., $25. Mostly Seven Springs Vineyard fruit. Consulting winemaker if Frenchman Dominque Lafon. · Moderately intense reddish-purple color in the glass. Dark fruits including plums and ollaliberries are featured on the nose with aromatic hints of spice, balsam and sawdust. Well-endowed with caressing fruit which persists on the finish. A California styled wine without all the alcohol. Good. Reviewed June 22, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $35. From The Evening Land Vineyards, Salem, OR. · Aromas of dark cherries, wooded forest and oak. Charming cherry and raspberry fruit with a hint of oak-derived vanillin, smoke and grilled meats. The tannins are restrained and the fruit-packed finish lingers. Needs time to reach its full expression and allow the oak to integrate, but a solid wine that will shine. Very good. Reviewed August 7, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard La Source Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $60. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy nose offering more oak than fruit. Mouth coating fruit with incredible intensity on the palate persisting on the explosive finish. Fine-grain tannins enrobe the vivid dark cherry and berry fruit, with a noticeable oak underpinning. The Evening Land Pinots all have a significant oak imprint. Very good. Reviewed March 12, 2011 ARTICLE »

2007 Evening Land Vineyards Seven Springs Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.38% alc., $40. The historic Seven Springs Vineyard was originally planted in 1984 in the Eola Hills with additions from 1993 to 1995, now spanning 65 acres. Clones are 114, 115, 777, Pommard and Wadenswil. Aged in 30% new French oak barrels. · This is a strange wine whose medium-weighted cherry and berry fruit is dominated by smoke and old wood on the nose and by an unpleasant oily flavor on the palate. Tasted three times over the past 6 months and discussed with the winemaker, Isabelle Meunier, who recommended giving the wine more time. Unsatisfactory. Reviewed November 29, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 Evening Lands Vineyards Seven Springs Vineyard La Source Eola- Amity Hills Chardonnay

12.9% alc., $80. · Light gold color. Delicate aromas of pear, banana and a hint of oak which are echoed on the palate. Soft and velvety in the mouth with ample acidity. A white Burgundy styled wine that is reserved, yet quite enjoyable. One of the best Chardonnays I have sampled from Oregon. Reviewed September 5, 2009 ARTICLE »

2006 Evening Land Vineyards The Occidental Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 120 cases, $150. 3.51 acres, 15 year-old vines, yield 1.28 tons per acre of Calera clone. This wine is crafted by Sashi Moorman in Lompoc. · Very dark reddish-purple color. A shy and brooding nose which starts out with woodsy and barnyard aromas but evolves nicely revealing bright fresh berries, violets and a hint of tobacco. Rich, plush and multilayered on the palate featuring dark stone fruits and flavors of fig and cola framed by a lively edge of acidity. The texture is pillowy and the finish, which has a citrus peel note, lasts and lasts. There still are substantial tannins to shed. Decant if you drink now and pair up with substantial food. This wine will cellar very well. Reviewed May 7, 2009 ARTICLE »